Tuesday’s NBA Experts Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Lakers vs. Nuggets, More

Tuesday’s NBA Experts Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Lakers vs. Nuggets, More article feature image
Credit:

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23).

There are seven games on the NBA schedule for Tuesday night and our experts are betting the total, spread and props in three specific matchups:

  • 7:30 p.m. ET: Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors 
  • 7:30 p.m. ET: Dallas Mavericks at New Orleans Pelicans 
  • 9 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets 

See what bets they’re making below.

Odds as of Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET

John Ewing: Mavericks at Pelicans

  • Spread: Mavericks -4
  • Over/Under: 232.5
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Player props are consistently exploitable by sharp bettors. With lower limits and fewer gamblers wagering on them, player props do not get the same attention from oddsmakers as the spread or total, which usually leads to softer lines.

One player prop that has my attention on Tuesday is Lonzo Ball over/under 4.5 rebounds.

Ball has averaged 4.1 rebounds per game this season. It appears the total is in line with his season average but it does not account for opponent nearly enough.

According to HashtagBasketball.com, the Mavericks are allowing opposing point guards to average 6.5 rebounds per game this season. Our FantasyLabs projections has Ball grabbing 6.1 rebounds on average against Dallas.

The 1.6 difference between the betting line and projected rebounds helps give this player prop a 10 out of 10 rating. With a favorable matchup, I’ll be betting Ball to go over his rebound total.

The PICK: Lonzo Ball Over 4.5 rebounds
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

John Ewing is 504-442-19 (53.3%) overall betting on the NBA. You can follow him in our free app.


Bryan Mears: Heat at Raptors

  • Spread: Raptors -4.5
  • Over/Under: 213
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

That Heat’s win against Milwaukee to start the year was legitimately great, but other than that what has been their signature victory? The win over the Rockets came with Houston spending the weekend in Miami — a schedule loss if there ever was one. Over the last few weeks, they’ve played just a handful of good teams — the Rockets again, Sixers, Lakers and Nuggets — and they’ve lost all of them.

On the year, they’re outperforming their point differential at the fifth-best rate, and that’s with an uninspiring schedule. Over the last two weeks, they’re just 13th in the league with a +2.6 Net Rating.

I’ve also written about this a ton, but the Heat have been supremely lucky this season, on top of the schedule: They have an expected eFG% rank of 13th based on shot location, but they’re actually second in the league.

On defense, they have an expected eFG% allowed rank of 24th but they’re 11th. They’ve seen that come back to earth a bit, but they’ve still been winning against bad teams, so the public hasn’t really caught on.

Meanwhile, the Raptors have been blitzing everyone. They rank second in point differential on the season and third over the last two weeks with a +13.8 mark. And unlike Miami, they’ve beaten good teams, with a blowout win over Utah on Sunday and a victory over the Sixers last week. They’ve dropped some games against big-name teams for sure, but they’ve mostly been on the road.

The Heat and Raptors actually lead the league in Net Rating at home with +16.9 and +14.6 marks, respectively. The Raptors get the benefit of playing in Toronto tonight, and the Heat are just 15th with a -2.1 Net Rating on the road.

The Heat will also be down a ball-handler in Goran Dragic, and the Raptors are getting healthier: Serge Ibaka returned on Sunday, and Kyle Lowry has been upgraded to doubtful tonight after an extended absence.

All in all, this line suggests the Raptors are only a point or so better than the Heat on a neutral floor, and I think if you regress the Heat back to earth with their shooting luck, that’s not a correct line. I’ll grab the -4.5 here.

The PICK: Raptors -4.5 (I would bet below -5)
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Bryan Mears is 383-298-10 (56.2%) overall betting on the NBA. You can follow him in our free app.


Brandon Anderson: Lakers at Nuggets

  • Spread: Nuggets -2
  • Over/Under: 208
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET

Are the Lakers and Nuggets playing a different game than the rest of the league? Take a look at the point totals on the board tonight. The Magic and Wizards are at 227.5 and rising. The Pelicans and Mavs are at 233.5 and that’s also on the way up. The Rockets and Spurs are at 234, and James Harden might cover that line by himself as hot as he’s been.

And then we have the Lakers and Nuggets at 208.5, and that under has been getting action from big bettors. That’s because they’re following the trends, like we are. The Lakers have gone under in five straight games, and the Nuggets have gone under in four of their past five.

You look at these rosters, see names like LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Nikola Jokic and think star power and scoring. The reality is that both team have been winning on the strength of their respective defenses. That shouldn’t change tonight. Expect a more old school, slow-it-down, grind-it-out slug fest. Stick with the under trend and count on defense to win the day.

The PICK: Lakers-Nuggets under 208.5
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]


Matt Moore: Lakers at Nuggets

The Bulls have been one of the most disappointing teams this season. Yet, they are also tied in our system for the most games where the money has come in at a 10% higher rate than the ticket count, which means bigger money bets are gravitating to Chicago. (The Pelicans are No. 1, by the way.)

What does this mean? It means the sharps are typically betting teams likely to regress to the mean. The Bulls have been one of the worst teams in the league in regards to their expected eFG% (54%) vs. their actual (49%). They should have been much better offensively to start the season than they have been.

What does this have to do with the Nuggets and Lakers? The Nuggets are exactly that kind of team. They’ve been a top-five offense each of the past four seasons, yet are currently just 18th in offensive rating.

I don’t know what the sharp bettors are thinking here, but they are very much on Denver in this game. After the Nuggets opened -1.5, it immediately moved to -2 and we’ve tracked two Steam Moves on Denver.

Denver was killer last year at home, going 27-19. The public nature of the Lakers means the line is always a little tilted in their favor; this should probably be closer to Denver -3, given Denver’s homecourt advantage in altitude. 538’s RAPTOR rating has this game Nuggets -6.

So now that I’ve given you all these reasons to back Denver, let me tell you why I’m on the Lakers, beyond the above analysis.

The tricky thing with regression obviously is that over time, sure, it’s going to come. But in the meantime, you’re trying to get ahead of a likely event that has yet to occur. The car hasn’t started six times in a row, and yes, the odds are that if the car’s actually in good condition, it’s going to start that seventh time.

But NBA offenses, in particular are trickier than that. They’re about rhythm, confidence and energy, and those things are hard to quantify. Denver’s offense had finally started to look like it was humming last week, before it ran off a pier and into a bog on Sunday vs. the Kings. Even over the past five games when things looked better, Denver still ranked 20th in offensive rating.

Are you betting on a trend self-correcting? Or on a trend holding pace?

One more thing: The Nuggets aren’t like Chicago; they’re not creating good looks that they’re simply missing. They have the third-worst expected eFG% via PBPStats.com. They are sixth-worst in actual eFG% at 50.42% … and that’s actually better than their expected mark! Their terrible shooting is overperforming expectations!

Denver won’t be this way all year. Jokic will find his lungs, the team will work out some of the new rotation issues. And certainly, Jamal Murray could get loose tonight and go off to shape the game. But there’s nothing in the eye test to make you believe in this Nuggets’ offense, especially against this Lakers’ defense, which remains very good in the eye test.

I’m fading the sharps.

The PICK: Lakers moneyline +110
[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Matt Moore is 621-621-16 (50%) overall betting on the NBA. You can follow him in our free app.